Chespirito - who The Simpsons' Bumblebee Man was based on - dies aged 85

His most famous role is El Chavo in El Chavo del Ocho

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The Independent Online

Mexican actor and comic Chespirito - who was the inspiration for a well-known US cartoon character - died yesterday of a heart attack aged 85.

Born as Roberto Gómez Bolaños, he was considered one of the most important comedians in the Spanish-speaking world and his popular grasshopper character El Chapulín Colorado was the basis for the exaggerated Hispanic character in The Simpsons called Bumblebee Man.

He died in Cancun, Mexico, and his well-being was known to have been deteriorating for some time after his declining health was reported in April after doctors said they lost hope of him making a full recovery.

Chespirito was the inspiration for the Bumblebee Man in The Simpsons

His death has sent shockwaves throughout his global fanbase with many paying tribute to the comedian who is loved by people of all ages due to his clean humour inspired by comics such as Laurel and Hardy.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted: "Mexico has lost an icon whose work has transcended generations and borders."

In El Chavo del Ocho, Chespirito - who also wrote the show which was first shown on Televisa in 1971 - plays homeless child El Chavo who lives in a barrel in the middle of an low-income apartment complex.

In a 2005 interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, he stated that he always wrote with working-class people in mind.

The married father-of-six and grandfather-of-12 said: "There are writers who pour out words, concepts that sound really important but that basically say nothing.

"I always tried to be as concise as possible, all to try and reach everyone, but especially the humble people, those who needed to be reached more than anyone else."

The show ran for 25 years and was dubbed into more than 50 languages and reruns are continuously broadcast with record-breaking ratings across Latin America.

A successful animated series based on the comedy was created in 2006 as well as toys and video games.

At the peak of its popularity in the mid-1970s, his El Chavo character - which first appeared in his sketch show Chespirito drew in more than 350 million viewers per episode.

The comedian got his stage name Chespirito - which is a Spanish version of William Shakespeare or Shakespearito, meaning "Little Shakespeare" - from a producer in his early years as a screenwriter.